Bayshore employees reflect on the global pandemic on third anniversary

| News and Stories

By Mary Mamak, Communications Specialist

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic and the world was plunged into a new reality unlike most of us have ever seen.

COVID-19 affected everyone. Our everyday lives, from work to school to home, drastically changed within days. Despite all the challenges, Bayshore’s 18,000 staff working on the frontlines, as logistics support, in pharmacies, warehouses, offices and clinics, all rose to the challenge.

On the three-year anniversary of the global pandemic, we asked our staff about their most enduring memory of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what they had to say.

Jeff Jardine, Pharmacist Bayshore Specialty RX, Charlottetown, PEI.:

“My most clear thought was how I would ensure our patients stay safe and not risk my family’s health. Also, driving to work the day the quarantine was declared here was like being in an episode of the Walking Dead. There was no one on the road, no one walking, and everything was like nothing I’d ever seen.”

Karen Rowley, Pharmaceutical Patient Support Program Manager, Bayshore Specialty Rx:

“The pandemic had a lot of dark times and memories, but there were also some positive ones. I was part of a team calling all the infusion clinic network patients to confirm their appointments and ask them the COVID-19 screening questionnaire. I had monthly calls with an especially chatty lady in Nova Scotia. We talked about how COVID-19 impacted our respective provinces, and she came to know me and expected my call every month. Several months into the pandemic, the receptionist at Bayshore’s national office dropped an envelope on my desk. It had a return address in Nova Scotia. When I opened it, there were two handmade triple-layer masks with elastic loops. She included a note that she wanted to do her part in keeping me safe like she knows we did for her every month by screening patients. She made them for locals in her community and wanted to send me some. I still think of her generosity!”

Clarence Vander Heide, Bayshore HealthCare, Director Infrastructure Services:

“The proudest moment was using our in-place technology to enable employees to work from home during the lockdown. My most enduring memory is working from home.”

Cindy Bennis, Area Director for the Cornwall branch of Bayshore Home Care Solutions:

“The extra time I was given with my adult children. Our three boys were in post-secondary school and had to come home due to the pandemic. During the initial lockdown, we spent 12 weeks together without interruption of outside influences and responsibilities. We reconnected as a family. I was getting to know them as young adults, and they were getting to know their parents as people that once existed separately from them. I was learning about their dreams, and they were learning about our dreams that came true. It was the time that I valued most.” 

Laurie Latham, National Sales and Community Outreach Manager for Bayshore Home Health:

“What I remember most was the stress healthcare workers were under, and the fear seniors and their families had of the unknown.”

Stacey Grammick, Regional Director, Transitional Care, Integrated Care Solutions:

“One thing I remember about those early days was the “we’re all in this together” and the spirit of community, helping those that couldn’t get out or it was unsafe. It was a scary time but working together to flatten the curve didn’t make it seem so scary or lonely.” 

Stuart Cottrelle, President, Bayshore HealthCare:

No Mask, No Pee“I had a lot of emotions; anxiety & fear were at the top of the list. I wondered how I would do business when I couldn’t walk around the business. I wondered how all the amazing leaders in the Bayshore family were doing. The one emotion I did not have was humour, and we all need humour to survive. And then Andrew Anderson provided me some humour one day when I went to the Mens’ Room at NDC. A little humour can help us get through a crisis.”

Maura Haughian, Care Manager, Bayshore Home Health, London:

“My most enduring memory from the pandemic is how well the world came together. The love for humanity and the kindness and patience was so beautiful. I loved watching the parades of people driving by, honking their horns and hanging out their windows and sunroofs in support of essential workers. Banging pots and pans in a show of compassion and human support bought tears to my eyes pretty much every day. It was very heartwarming and inspirational. It brought out the kindness in everyone.”

Karen Pietrangelo, Community Health Worker Program Director:

“During the first two months of the lockdown, two of my grandchildren and I hunkered down in isolation (both of their parents were essential workers). Together, we explored nature, created some epic minute-to-win-it challenges, built massive forts in the living room, taught them a little cooking, watched spring come alive, and made some fun videos in the process.”

Sylvia Jibb, Branch Support Specialist, Bayshore Home Health:

“I’ll never forget those first spooky, surreal days of shelter-in-place. Roads eerily empty, people crossing the street when you’d near each other on a sidewalk, fearful of whether they might have ‘IT’ or not. I hugged my family members who were part of my “bubble” and missed the ones who weren’t. I discovered that Zoom meetings, Zoom Thanksgiving, and Zoom game nights were a far cry from actual gatherings but far better than nothing.”

Caroline Aubin, PSP Program Manager with Bayshore Specialty Rx:

“My most enduring memory was this strange, dichotomous feeling of loneliness on one end but also the sentiment that the world was coming together to fight this pandemic. A sense of community of “coming together” that I rarely feel in my province. Despite your race, colour, gender, or economic status, we were all in the same boat!”

Glynis Quantick, Transitional Care Unit-Clinical Manager, Windsor TCU:

“I was unable to see my 95-year-old father for many months. He lives in long-term care. I eventually could see him, but only through a window during window visits. I was also let go from my management role with another provider, but that was a blessing in disguise because now I work for Bayshore – and I got the summer of 2020 off for the first time in my 40-year career!”

Erin Smith, Director, National Specialty Pharmacy:

“The challenge of working onsite every day following COVID-19 protocols and continuing to ensure our patients have access to their life-changing medications without any service disruption. Learning more about Zoom and Teams meetings than I ever thought I wanted to know! My kids played together more than ever before and strengthened their relationship.”

Michelle Bloodworth, Regional Director – BHH Central & Eastern Canada for Bayshore Home Health:

“Our organization, including Senior Leaders, Area Directors, Admin Teams and Field staff, rallied to support each other. We strived every day during those early days to keep up with the ever-changing when fear and uncertainty was at a peak.” 

Charlotte Harris, Client Experience Manager, Bayshore HealthCare

“When 95% of Bayshore’s national office cleared out, and our phone lines were very quiet at the start, three or four of us would go to a meeting room every afternoon for around a month and do Just Dance for half an hour! It kept our spirits up!”

Colleen Boyce, Senior Advisor, Client Services, Division of Integrated Care Solutions – ICS NRIO:

“Employee’s resilience to deal with the unknown, fear, anxiety, conspiracy theories, anger, exhaustion, changing policies, upholding high standards of client care, and resulting in incredible team building, bonding, leadership, equity, supporting each other, the clients we serve and knowing we are ALL in this together – all over the world! Together, we came out stronger, committed, dedicated, compassionate and supportive. What a team! And it continues three years later!”

Joby Abraham, Employee Experience Coordinator, Bayshore Home Health, Ottawa:

“I got married in April 2021 in Toronto, but my parents, brother, and the rest of my family (from India) could not travel to our wedding. But my husband’s sister and family blessed our matrimonial ceremony when only ten people, including the bride and groom, were allowed to gather in churches. My husband and I bought a beautiful new home in a great neighbourhood called Stittsville. I became an Employee Experience Coordinator at Bayshore Home Health in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario.”